KE7034 - Masters Dissertation

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What will I learn on this module?

This module is designed to support you in developing and applying advanced academic and/or practice-based research skills within the context of an appropriate area of contemporary geoscience research. This research area will be your own choice, but will be grounded in, or informed by, staff research and/or local industry links. This could include anything from monitoring coastal change along the north east using drones, to reconstructing tropical environmental change, or computer modelling the behaviour of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. You will ultimately conduct an extended piece of original independent research that contributes to the creation of new knowledge. You will work closely with a research supervisor who will provide you with 1:1 guidance throughout all stages of your dissertation, from the initial project design through to submission of the final extended research project.

You will develop expertise in:

* Planning, developing and executing a substantial piece of independent research.

* Evaluating and applying concepts, models and theories to consolidate and extend your knowledge in your chosen field of study.

* Sourcing, reviewing and synthesising a variety of information sources.

* Gathering, analysing and presenting complex data.

* Effective written, verbal and visual communication to a variety of audiences.

* Applying creative and innovative approaches to problem solving.

* Reviewing appropriate ethical, health and safety, commercial and/or confidential data protection issues associated with your research.

How will I learn on this module?

We encourage you to see yourself as a proactive postgraduate researcher, not simply as a student. To this end, you will learn on this module through active research, encouraged through co-working with staff. A significant part of the learning on this module will be in your own time through independent learning, but you will also participate in seminars and supervisory meetings to support your learning. You will be expected to take ownership of your own learning and through a process of self-reflection on your own needs, skills and abilities, seek the necessary guidance and personal development required to successfully complete your research project. You will work with a dissertation supervisor who will provide you with specialist guidance on your research project. As an integral part of the module you are expected to maintain regular contact with your supervisor and to take full responsibility for the management of your research project. If you are using laboratory techniques, specialist equipment or bespoke IT software, staff (technical and academic) will guide you in learning their use although you will be responsible for their application.

By applying what you have learnt and by engaging in the process of research itself you will become more self-sufficient as the year progresses and will further develop the key employability skills of time-management, the retrieval and critical application of relevant knowledge and information, effective communication, problem solving and analysis, and the ability to make informed decisions.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will receive guidance from a project supervisor throughout all stages of the research process, including in regular 1:1 meetings. In addition, your independent study will be guided and supported through your engagement with a range of interactive learning resources accessible online via the module eLP site, including an electronic reading list. If you are using laboratory techniques, specialist equipment or bespoke IT software, staff (technical and academic) will guide you in learning their use. Staff also operate an ‘open door’ policy for students meaning you can approach them anytime during normal office hours, or via email, to answer questions, receive feedback and support your learning on the module.

Support for dissertation design through structured seminars and from your supervisor will help you in the design of your own research project.

At the end of the dissertation planning stage, you will present your project proposal in the form of a poster to staff and your peers at a mini research conference (formally assessed through the Communicating Geoscience module). This will provide an invaluable opportunity for you not only to gain skills in communicating science to a broad academic audience, but to receive verbal feedback on your ideas, facilitate knowledge sharing, and stimulate discussions on ways to improve your proposal. The conference is timed to ensure you can incorporate any suggestions or improvements into your methodology before you begin your dissertation research during semester 3. Throughout your dissertation research you will receive ongoing feedback from your supervisor.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding: * MLO 1: Conceptualise, theorise and undertake research which addresses complex issues and which contributes to the creation of new knowledge/understanding and/or applications to practice within the discipline. Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities: * MLO 2: Demonstrate expertise in utilising acquired intellectual and practical skills to gather, analyse, synthesise and present complex data, in order to develop and execute an extended piece of original independent academic research, applying creative and innovative approaches where required. * MLO 3: Demonstrate effective communication of research in scholarly written, verbal and visual forms, and to a variety of audiences, evidencing effective organisation, initiative and originality. * MLO 4: Review appropriate ethical, commercial, confidentiality, data protection and health and safety issues, as required by the nature of the chosen research project. Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA): * MLO 5: Be a confident, ethical, disciplined professional researcher, able to critically reflect on your own work and that of others with a critical understanding of the processes through which knowledge is created.

How will I be assessed?

During semester 2 you will present a research proposal in the form of a poster in a mini research conference setting (MLO1; MLO3). This will be formally assessed through the Communicating Geoscience module, but provides the opportunity for formative feedback from staff and peers on your ideas, which you can use to feed forward into your dissertation. Regular contact with your supervisor will also enable you to gain formative feedback to guide the development of your research project. You will also be required to review appropriate ethical, commercial, confidentiality, data protection and health and safety issues, as required by the nature of your chosen research project (MLO4). These will not be formally assessed, but you will receive feedback from your supervisor. At the end of semester 3 you will submit your dissertation (100%, 20,000 words) (MLO1; MLO2; MLO3; MLO5). You will receive ongoing written and verbal feedback from your supervisor throughout the research process, highlighting areas for improvement before the final submission of your dissertation. Written feedback will be provided on the research project. All projects are blind double marked in line with standard Departmental procedures.

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

This module provides you with the exciting opportunity to apply advanced research skills that you have developed throughout the course to undertake your own research on any topic that interests and motivates you within the field of contemporary geoscience research. Ultimately this is an independent research project, but you will work closely with expert academic and technical staff, who will provide you with specialist guidance on your research project. They will guide you in learning a range of laboratory techniques, specialist equipment and/or bespoke software where required. You will further develop key employability skills of time-management, retrieval and critical application of relevant knowledge and information, effective communication, problem solving and analysis, and the ability to make informed decisions, all whilst working on a topic of your choice that we hope keeps you motivated and inspired to achieve the very best you can.

Course info

Credits 60

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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